Festival of Lights Grand Opening Day!

See Santa Parachute in, Plus Dance and Musical Performances and a Special Sister City Celebration. 

FOLSantaParachuting2As the largest holiday lighting events on the Gulf Coast flips the switch on Saturday, Moody Gardens will also kick off the 50th anniversary celebration of Galveston-Niigata Sister City relationship. Festivities begin with Santa parachuting in for this free event, the Festival of Lights packs the night with over 100 sound-enhanced animated light displays, live entertainment and more.

As a special treat, students across Galveston Independent School District will illuminate the Festival of Lights with 25 hand-made Japanese folk art known as the Taiguruma, pull-cart paper lanterns in the shape of a Bream fish, and perform songs to go along with the Japanese celebration. Through Jan. 4, you can enjoy more than one million lights, a Texas-sized Arctic Ice Slide, and the area’s only outdoor ice skating rink. Tickets are $6.95. Additional tickets to any of the other Moody Gardens Attractions are just $6.00 each with your festival ticket.

CLICK HERE for schedule and tickets


  • 4:00 – 4:05 PM: Steve Smith and KPRC hosts take the stage
  • 4:05 – 4:30 PM: Galveston Ballet performs
  • 4:30 – 4:40 PM: Master Illusionist Curt Miller musical performance
  • 4:40 – 4:55 PM: Army Band performs
  • 4:55 PM: Countdown to Parachuting Santa begins
  • 5:00 – 5:10 PM: Santa Parachutes in from the North Pole
  • 5:10 – 5:25 PM: Amy Blake’s Dance Academy performs
  • 5:25 – 5:40 PM: Vibe Dance Company performs
  • 5:40 – 5:59 PM: GISD Choir Performs as the Taigurama Japanese Lantern Parade begins
  • 6:00 PM: Santa flips the giant light switch to turn on over 1 million lights. The Festival of Lights gates officially open for the season.

FolEblastBannerThe Festival will continue to shine throughout the holiday season Thursdays through Saturdays from Nov. 22 to Dec. 7, before open nightly from Dec. 12 to Jan. 4, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Hours run from 6 to 10 p.m.

Admission to the Festival of Lights is $6.95. With the purchase of a Festival of Lights ticket, tickets to the Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, holiday MG 3D film, holiday 4D Film, Ridefilm and Colonel Paddlewheel Boat can be purchased for only $6 each.  Guests can also enjoy the Texas-sized Arctic slide and the classic outdoor skating rink. Ice skates are available for rent or guests can bring their own.

Moody Gardens recognizes Houston Area Cadillac Dealers, KPRC TV 2, Houston Community Newspapers, Houston Family Magazine, Pepsi, Gilbane Builders, Morris Architects, Broome Welding & Machine Co., Forman Equipment and Contracting, Chuoke Plumbing, Kelso Concrete, KenMor Electric, American Marble, Baker Concrete, CHP and Associates, WORKtm and Schindler Elevator Corp., Glazier Foods and Forward Energy Group as sponsors of the 2013 Festival of Lights.


1 Comment

  1. Magann Evans

    My family and I made the 2 hour trip down to Galveston to see the Holiday Light Festival. All of us were super excited to get out there and see the lights. When we arrived it was a little unclear about where to purchase tickets so we walked to the entrance of the Light Festival. We were told to go inside the building to purchase tickets. We went inside, waited in line, asked for 2 adults, 1 child (my 2 year old was free), four train tickets and one slide ticket. The cashier informed us that train and slide tickets were to be purchased outside, so we settled for just the festival tickets. It wasn’t until after I walked away and had put away my change that I realized we were only given two tickets. I stood in line again to get my son’s ticket, as our cashier was now helping another family. After getting our 3rd ticket, we headed back downstairs to find the train. When we got there the train driver informed us that we should have purchased our tickets inside the building. By this time, the hassle of going all the way back to the building was starting to feel not worth it. We then saw a golf cart station set up for people with limited mobility. My six year old son is currently fighting Leukemia and is neutropenic so we walked over to the golf carts instead of having to go all the way back inside and wait in line for a third time. I explain my child’s situation (which is also supported by his medical grade mask and bald head) to the lady who responded by telling me that the station is only for people who can’t walk the course. Obviously she knows nothing about bone cancer! I enlighten her a little about the difficulties of him walking that kind of distance and she continues to tell me that if I were carrying my son it would be a different story and that we could ride the golf cart (I was pushing him in my daughters stroller to and from the building). I then asked for her name. She gave me her first name but refused to give me her last name to which I told her that I would like to have her full name when making a formal complaint on her. At this point she tells me fine we can ride but its going to be a 45 minute wait. I’m not sure how long it takes when there are 5 people in front of you, but surely 45 minutes seemed like an excessive amount of time to service that amount of people. Frustrated with the situation, we decide to push my 6 year old in my 2 year old daughter’s stroller. I’m not sure how many ADA guidelines were broken last night, but surely common sense and humanity were GROSSLY offended (along with myself and anyone with half a brain would be).

    Somehow we still managed to enjoy our walk through the lights, but I just can not shake the feeling I got from the treatment we were given. It is my opinion that the staff is undertrained and unsure of their policies (to which I credit them only being open 2 days), but I am still in shock over the situation with Camille No-last-name at the golf cart station. I also want to mention that the slide lost our business because they too required a ticket from inside. I am pretty disappointed with the overall experience (not the lights, those were excellent) and I am not sure if I will continue to bring my business to Moody Gardens after this ordeal.

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